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J-Rod: defeats will do us good
Jay Rodriguez believes the defeats against Arsenal and Chelsea will turn Saints into a better team.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side lost back-to-back games for the first time this season, as they were beaten 3-1 at Stamford Bridge.
The result followed their 2-0 setback at the Emirates Stadium a week earlier, and has knocked them down to seventh in the Premier League table.
Rodriguez, however, says the club’s last two matches will benefit the team in the long run, and he stressed that confidence has not been dented.
“We’ve got an inner belief in our team,” he said. “We’ve got the team spirit to bounce back.
“I think the defeats will improve us as a team. I think we’ll look at the negatives and the positives and take it into the game on Wednesday (at home to Aston Villa).
“That’s the way we work. We’ll just keep positive and look to get three points on Wednesday.”
Rodriguez had fired Saints into the lead after just 13 seconds at Stamford Bridge, latching onto Michael Essien’s terrible backpass and slotting the ball past Petr Cech.
The visitors held the advantage until the second half, but were comfortably beaten in the end, as the Blues rallied through goals from Gary Cahill, John Terry and Demba Ba.
“Obviously, we’re all disappointed,” said Rodriguez.
“We wanted to keep the lead and improve on it, and I think with the goals we gave away we’re obviously going to be disappointed.”
Speaking of his own strike, Rodriguez added: “It just came (to me) and I thought the keeper was going to come out, but he took a step back and I’ve gone to put it in and luckily it went in the net.
“I was obviously really chuffed, but we’re disappointed with losing.”
Rodriguez admitted that Saints had lacked a bit of cutting edge in the final third, and missed opportunities to create what might have been a decisive second goal when they had the lead.
“That’s one of the things we’ll look at,” he said. “I think we had chances to go and create another chance and another goalscoring opportunity, but the last pass was maybe just off.
“It’s something to look at and try and improve for the next game.”
Saints lost Artur Boruc and Morgan Schneiderlin to injury at Chelsea and the depth of their squad is likely to be well tested over the coming weeks, with six games still to play this month.
But Rodriguez says he is sure they will have enough to cope with the demanding schedule.
“It was obviously a shame seeing the two lads go off the field, but I thought the lads who came in did brilliant,” he said. “We’ve got a good enough squad. The lads who aren’t playing are brilliant, so it’s always good to see them come on as well.”
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